The Young-Davidson gold mine is located near the town of Matachewan, approximately 60 km west of Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario. The property consists of contiguous mineral leases and claims totalling 11,000 acres and is situated on the site of two past producing mines that produced one million ounces in the 1930s–1950s.
The Young-Davidson gold mine achieved the first gold pour on April 30, 2012. Currently on schedule, Young-Davidson is expected to reach commercial production by the end of the third quarter of 2012.
Current production is coming from an open pit forecast to produce 65,000-75,000 ounces in 2012 and 135,000-155,000 ounces in 2013. The mine is expected to ramp-up to over 250,000 ounces of annual peak production by 2016.
Young-Davidson is situated within the southwestern part of the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, one of the largest greenstone belts in the world with historic production of 160 million ounces of gold. The Abitibi consists of a complex and diverse array of volcanic, sedimentary, and plutonic rocks typically metamorphosed to greenschist facies grade, but locally attaining amphibolite facies grade. Within the Abitibi lies the Kirkland-Larder Lake trend, home to several gold camps including Young-Davidson, with combined historic production of 34 million ounces of gold.
Gold mineralization at Young-Davidson is associated with a syenite intrusive rock (a quartz granite). Within this syenite, the gold mineralization is associated with a stockwork of quartz veinlets and narrow quartz veins, rarely greater than a few centimetres thick that are within a broader halo of disseminated pyrite and potassic alteration. Historic mining demonstrated the continuity of mineralization from surface to a depth of approximately 500 metres. Mineralization is known to extend beyond 1,500 metres below surface (orebody open at depth); however, current drilling below this level will not be initiated until suitable underground drill platforms become available. Other mines along the Kirkland-Larder Lake trend were mined to depths of over 2,000 metres.
In 2012, we have budgeted $4-6 million for exploration and 35,000-43,000 metres of drilling.
The 2011 exploration program was highly successful, Proven and Probable reserves reached 3.8 million gold ounces; an increase of 1.01 million ounces (or 36%) over 2010. In addition, 407,000 ounces were added to Measured and Indicated resources in 2011.
The 2012 program will primarily focus on continuing to develop the YD West deposit, as well as follow-up drilling on five additional targets that were identified in 2011. The main deposit will also be tested below the current reserve limit by several deep widespread holes.
In late 2013, we plan to develop the YD West target and establish an underground drilling platform to better explore both the main deposit and the YD West target below the 9,000 mL, which remains open to the east, west and at depth.